Alphabet Soup

This afternoon’s discussion, continuing in the economic theme, is a discussion on lending in the community association industry. Several representatives of private project approval companies, a representative of FannieMae, and a developer’s attorney (who explains that he has inadvertently become a banker’s attorney are discussing the current state of financing in the U.S.

Historically, FHA was the first government-related association to assist in condominium funding; that was ultimately followed by the VA, then FNMA and FMAC. These entities all had underwriting standards relating to which projects they would lend upon; community associations could seek and obtain approval, once that approval was obtained the approval would be posted, and would be permanent, in the absence of litigation, or certain other significant adverse actions.

In November of 2007, however, FNMA stopped granting approvals and deferred the approval decision to lenders. That caused great consternation, as lenders did not know what they were doing, and loan availability suffered.

Recently, FNMA has indicated that it will resume the project approval program, with several different options.

An attorney, who is the past president of CAI, is suggesting that a price protection plan for homes will solve the World economic problem. Simplified greatly, he’s proposing that new homeowners be assured of a repurchase of their home, at the original purchase price, after a two year period.

One drafting suggestion to the practitioners is that association governing documents allow board modification of provisions relating to secondary mortgage markets.

Several of the panelists are reminding attendees that the agencies will, even in otherwise noncompliant projects, grant exceptions in appropriate circumstances.

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